Francis Phillips

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July 31, 2020
Having blogged about It’s Good to be Here (Sophia Press), the reflections of Christina Chase, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA type II), I decided to follow it up by contacting the author to learn more about her life and faith. I tell her that what caught my attention was the epigraph at
July 30, 2020
My Irish grandfather, who lived in Cork, used to tell me when I was a child that he was looking forward to the annual Redemptorist mission at his parish. He cheerfully related how the Redemptorists preached hellfire and how much the attendees appreciated their bloodcurdling sermons. This was in the 1950s. I suspect that the
July 30, 2020
I was especially drawn to read Mary Farrow’s article on Acedia on the Catholic Herald website for 19 May as I have a sneaky feeling that I suffer from it. I am constantly tempted (and sometimes succumb) to putting off what I should be doing and frittering away my time in displacement tasks. The lockdown
June 26, 2020
Sometimes you read a book that reminds you most forcibly that almost al our worries are trivial, small niggles that upset us temporarily, yet assume a disproportionate importance in our minds. Such a book came into my hands these last couple of weeks: It’s Good to Be Here by Christina Chase (Sophia Institute Press). The
June 25, 2020
Sophia Institute Press has produced a most attractive and original book for girls, roughly of the age range 6-9. It is Our Lady’s Wardrobe by Anthony DeStefano, illustrated by Juliana Kolesova. The illustrations are at least as important as the text, which is a four-line verse on each page, alongside a full-page colour picture of
June 17, 2020
Having blogged about Russell Shaw’s Eight Popes and the Crisis of Modernity (Ignatius Press), I had many questions I wanted to ask the author – not least, does he have a personal favourite from among personalities as varied as St Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII, St John XXIII, St Paul VI, John
June 05, 2020
Are Catholics more susceptible to conspiracy theories than other people? Yes and no. Yes, because ours is a supernatural religion and once you accept the realm of the supernatural it can be a small leap into magical thinking that there is a vast conspiracy network labouring day and night to control us all. No, because
May 28, 2020
Why would you illustrate a poem? The answer is, if you are an artist and think visually, that is what you do. Does this enhance the poem or distract from it? That depends on the quality of the artistic creativity. I say this because I have been reading (and looking at) Poems to See By:
May 27, 2020
A Catholic neighbour in our village called on me recently (keeping the appropriate distance, naturally.) She has published a slim memoir of her childhood in an Edinburgh tenement, remarking to me drily, “Now is not a good time for a book launch.” Having enjoyed blogging about Valerie Murray’s Flight from the Brothers Grimm, reminiscences of
May 26, 2020
Anyone who is looking for a short, succinct survey of the men who occupied the papacy during the 20th century, the tasks and challenges they faced and the ways they responded to them, might like to read Eight Popes and the Crisis of Modernity by Russell Shaw (Ignatius Press). In a mere 150 pages, the
May 06, 2020
Having written a blog on Confessions of the Antichrist, a novel by Addison Hodges Hart (Angelico Press, £14.50), I was curious to find out more about this treatment of a fascinating subject. I asked Hart what had given him the idea of writing on such an unusual theme. He tells me that many things “converged
April 29, 2020
Born in August 1977, Melissa Ohden is one of the small group of babies who actually survived an abortion attempt